With over 25 years of international success, the legendary duo Baby Rasta y Gringo are considered to be one of the original pioneers of Reggaeton music. Initially named the ‘Eazy Boyz’, the group broke into the music industry in the early 90s at a time when the Reggaeton genre was still underground. By 1998, the duo adopted a new name, Baby Rasta y Gringo, and quickly rose in popularity, becoming the first Reggaeton group to hit mainstream music.
Baby Rasta y Gringo have become one of the most celebrated Latin acts in the industry and show no signs of slowing down. Together the group has dropped seven successful albums and has amassed over 12 million followers across social media. Although Baby Rasta y Gringo are currently on tour, they took the time to share their thoughts about their legendary rise to fame, their deep ties to their Puerto Rican culture, and their thoughts about the future of Reggaeton music. Here’s what they had to say:
How did you two start collaborating together?
Gringo: We were neighbors and there was a street music movement. Baby Rasta knew me and said we should get together to form a duo and bring a new style where one would rap while the other made the chorus and melody. Back then there were only rappers or if someone sang very good he would be alone. Now, this is very common.
Baby Rasta: Gringo sang with his cousin, and he dropped out, they were both rappers. I came into that picture and we made something different, which is normal nowadays.
What caused you to change your name from “the Easy Boyz” to “Baby Rasta y Gringo”?
Gringo: When people started to recognize us they wanted to call us by our names, something more personal. We decided to be called by our names because our audience felt like a family.
Who has been your biggest musical influence?
Baby Rasta: Dr. Dre, Tupac and Eminem.
How has your Puerto Rican heritage influenced your music?
Gringo: Puerto Rico is an all-genre island. We hear everything, so that has kept us adapt to every trend and easily innovate our music.
Baby Rasta: I have worked with artists all my life and have given many rising artists the opportunity to showcase their talent on my album when they were starting out. Thanks to these artists who have corresponded, we have collaborated when their careers have taken off with success.
As one of the first big Reggaeton acts to break into the music industry, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen with the genre over time?
Baby Rasta: Everything keeps evolving and so the big changes in the music industry have affected our performance. If what’s in is rock, electro, or rap we would adapt and incorporate different instruments into our production.
With over 25 years of international success, what is the secret behind your continued growth in popularity in an ever-evolving music industry?
Gringo: Work with the brand first. Feeling comfortable with yourself and being able to transfer that feeling to the fans; working with different colleagues, success comes with unity.
Baby Rasta: If you take off Superman’s suit, does he stop being strong? No! But it changes him, it transforms him into a ‘strong man’, right? That’s why we brought in the ‘Los Lobos’ concept, so people would identify us and our peers as part of that brand!
As Reggaeton continues to show no signs of slowing down- what do you think Latin music will look like in 2019?
Gringo: New talents will rise and they will bring new sounds; it’s now on them to continue through the years to build on what we have done. In fact, I am working with an artist now called Dubaii, and I will teach him the same discipline we had when we were young.
Baby Rasta: They should respect the ones who are before them and the genre will pay them back when they have done their time. Having worked for one year versus 25, is not the same!
Have you encountered barriers in the industry as a Latin artist?
Baby Rasta: Of course, language was one barrier!
Gringo: Government was another barrier, I remember when our albums were banned from stores and even destroyed, we would claim liberty of expression. We got through that and we made it, now there are even political campaigns using Reggaeton.
What is the story behind the video for your most recent hit “Envuelta’?
Gringo: The story is about having a good time in a paradise, despite the fact that it was severely beaten by the hurricane Mary in 2017, we’re moving forward.
Baby Rasta: The goal is to tell people we have beautiful rivers and beaches and we are still standing, to reactivate the tourism economy.
What’s next for Baby Rasta y Gringo?
Gringo: We just finished two singles with their videos. We are considering different strategies to determine which one we’ll release first. Baby Rasta has his favorite and I have mine, when they are released, the audience will decide!
Baby Rasta: We want to implement a marketing strategy with the videos; sometimes the director has his imagination and creativity but, even if the idea is good, it doesn’t match the promotion campaigns we are doing.
What advice would you give to aspiring Latin creators?
Gringo: Be disciplined and take it as a serious job because it can be enjoyable; if you look at famous artists you see they get up early and wake up with a propose.
Baby Rasta: If you wake up late it doesn’t mean you’re not gonna be successful, I have always woken up late (haha), but it is very important to wake up early and start working.
What’s the best piece of advice you received as a creator?
Baby Rasta: Music is beautiful, but if you want to make it a way of life you have to understand the business, even before you start making music.
Gringo: So true!
What’s a fun fact no one knows about you?
Baby Rasta: Well, what can I say? Normal people are supposed to go on vacation with their partners right? The problem is I travel with Gringo (haha). Due to our job, we have traveled together ALL over the world, and for some strange reason we always bring that up with the airport security… It’s a very internal joke but we always get a laugh out of it.